I spent the day training dogs. Here's what they taught me. - East Idaho News
Workin' It

I spent the day training dogs. Here’s what they taught me.

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Mary loves the dogs a little too much.

IDAHO FALLS — The EastIdahoNews.com team is highlighting different jobs in our area. Every Monday for the past several weeks, we’ve been workin’ it in a variety of professions.

I was lucky enough to try my hand as a dog trainer at Idaho K9 Academy in Idaho Falls.

Idaho K9 Academy provides basic obedience training for dogs of all ages. That includes leash training, manners, basic commands and more. Owners drop their furry friends off for an entire day of professional training once a week.

Professional trainer Makayla was quick to point out that owners are given homework. And she can always tell if they don’t complete it. Regular training, she said, is a big part of building a bond with your dog. Don’t let the opportunity slip by.

Makayla and I worked with two very good dogs, Lynn and Kenji.

Lynn is just a puppy, if you can believe it. The good-natured Great Dane needed some help learning to come when called and staying when commanded.

Handsome Kenji was working on becoming more confident so he wasn’t timid or fearful — behaviors that could keep him from joining his owner when she’s out and about.

For both dogs, we used what is known as lure-and-reward training. As you may guess, the dog is coaxed into doing something with a “lure” and then rewarded. Lynn and Kenji were enthusiastic about their treats, but some dogs respond better to toys. Whatever your dog loves, use that as the lure, Makayla said. (UYou can learn more about it here).

It’s a simple method, and the dogs catch on quickly. The trick is knowing when to start weaning your dog away from the treats so it will consistently obey. But that’s a whole different day of training.

A dog usually has an attention span of about 15 to 20 minutes, Makayla told me. (I think the same could be said for me.) Lynn’s enthusiasm was catching, and Kenji was so full of loves — I had a hard time keeping myself on task. I was glad Mikayla was there to keep me from undoing weeks of hard work.

Watch Lynn, Kenji and me learn a few things from each other in the video player above.


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